Tippecanoe School Corporation
Simulator allows students to experience the dangers of distracted driving
Sue Scott

Taking your eyes off the road for just a short time can be dangerous. Students at McCutcheon High School experienced this firsthand through a distracted driving simulation.

Representatives from the PEER Foundation, a nationwide health and wellness foundation, and State Farm Insurance sponsored the  event at McCutcheon. The  Augmented Reality Distracted Driving Education Simulator allows students to experience the dangers of texting while driving in a safe, controlled environment. The program challenges students to make quick decisions regarding traffic, pedestrians and cell phones in order to avoid collisions.

Junior Haleigh Butler took the driver's seat in the immobile vehicle, put on the headset and pushed the gas pedal. "The glasses showed us a street and we had to drive going no more than 30 mph," says Haleigh. "While we were driving, the instructor was telling us to do things on our phones, such as taking a video and talking about what we were doing. When I got out my phone, it became a lot harder to drive and I ended up crashing in the simulation."

Junior Gavin Dardeen said the simulator was very effective. "It really helped you see how the phone can take away your concentration."

"I think this can really help students see that even for a split second if you are not paying attention, bad things could happen that nobody can take back," adds Haleigh.

PEER representative giving student instructions
Screen of distracted driving simulator
Student using phone while in distracted driving simulator
Student with phone out while in driving simulator